Impact Analysis methodology tools are helping authorities in the FSM document its freshwater supply and secure the future of the Nukuoro atoll

The data collected using tools from an Impacts Analysis methodology, designed to monitor the progress of climate change adaptation work, is helping authorities in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) document its freshwater supply, and secure the future of the community.

The experience was shared by FSM’s national consultant, Windred Muldong, during Segment One of the Practice Learning Series, organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) team as part of the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus Scaling up Pacific Adaptation (GCCA+ SUPA) project. The Practice Learning Series consist of nine segments, scheduled up until November 2022, designed to examine adaptation in practice through an impacts analysis methodology.

The first segment, held virtually on 21 and 22 April 2022, focused on freshwater security in atolls, where Muldong talked about FSM’s experience from the work done on Nukuoro atoll. “From our experience, it takes a good team, it takes a lot of members to carry out this task successfully,” the FSM’s national consultant shared with the meeting’s participants. “In order to carry out the household survey and the social survey, we have to train the enumerators, they are the ones who go out and knock on the doors and conduct the surveys and public polls.”

The data collected is extremely important not only to understand what is available in terms of freshwater security but also to look at what needs to be done to prepare for a drought and most importantly to see whether the water is safe for consumption.

“From the social survey, it helped us figure out how many households on the island as well as to understand the demographics in the community, the people, the type of housing and so forth. This is extremely important in terms of the history as well as to measure progress in terms of climate change adaption work,” said Mudong. “From the social survey, we found out that over 85 percent of the households have their own private water tanks. That means there are still households who don’t have water tanks and they have to share with their neighbours.”

Nukuoro is an isolated island with a population of less than 1,000 people. It is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.  “The majority of the community members believe that climate change is happening. About half of the households are quite prepared to deal with cyclones but the other half are not prepared,” Mudong noted. “Speaking with the elders, they confirmed that they have lived through all these climate hazards and they feel that there is not much they can do about them now, other than getting information from the main island that there is a storm coming and then they will just have to buckle down.”

Access to fresh water is largely dependent on families collecting rainwater from tin roofs and storing them in water tanks. During the household and social surveys, the team found that a lot of water tanks needed repair and maintenance, rendering some of the water unsafe.

“Just from going house to house and tank to tank, the team found most of the tanks are small. We found 42 private tanks and five community water tanks that are functional,” he said. “Compared to five years ago, we found out that the majority of the people on the island felt that their lives are still the same with some of them stating that it’s better than five years ago.”

The project lead for SPREP GCCA+ SUPA, Monifa Fiu, opened the two-day session with an overview of the Impacts Analysis mythology and spoke about why the Series matters.

“This is a very important part of our work and I thank you all for being here today. This is a practice and learning series,” Fiu said. “We’ll look at the period of testing, the interaction with the community and the connection of our national stakeholders. How do we use our experiences so far to inform better planning and better thinking when it comes to strategic national planning as we move forward?”

The Federated States of Micronesia is one of the four countries that cooperated with the field testing of the impacts analysis methodology, to profile recent history of climate change adaptation work sourced from recently completed projects. The other countries are Tonga, Palau and the Cook Islands.

The other priority sectors the impacts analysis methodology targets are agriculture, marine resource conservation and coastal protection. These priority sectors will be brought under the microscope when the Series continues. Segment Two is scheduled for 11-13 May 2022.

This story was written by Sosikeni Lesa, originally published at SPREP on 26 April 2022, reposted via PACNEWS.

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